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SOS Michael Watson under fire for voter registration comments made on WLOX

Here to talk about moves to reform election laws is Mississippi Secretary of State Michael...
Here to talk about moves to reform election laws is Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson.
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 10:43 AM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson’s recent appearance on WLOX News This Week has been making national headlines this week. The spotlight is on his March 26th comments about college students and whether they should be automatically registered to vote.

During that interview, Watson told WLOX News, “Think about all these woke college university students now who would automatically be registered to vote, whether they wanted to or not. Again, if they didn’t know to opt out, they would be automatically registered to vote. And then they receive this mail-in ballot that they didn’t even know was coming because they didn’t know they registered to vote. You have an uninformed citizen who may not be prepared and ready to vote, automatically it’s forced on them. Hey, go and make a choice and our country’s going to pay for those choices,” Watson said during the interview.

Here’s Watson’s interview with David Elliott in its entirety:

Watson’s comments drew criticism from many on social media, and this week gained nation attention.

In response to Sec. Watson’s comments, the organization Young Democrats of Mississippi released a statement saying, “We are extremely troubled by Secretary Watson’s statements and his views about increased voting access for young people. As Mississippi’s Chief Elections Officer, Secretary Watson should be championing efforts to update our election systems here in Mississippi and processes to help make it easier for our citizens—including young people—to participate in our democracy. Our top election official should be a trusted source for voters, not one who spreads misinformation and pushes partisan charged talking points on TV.”

WLOX News also spoke with the group’s president, Jarrius Adams, who said, “I just want to challenge Sec. Watson to visit one of our university or colleges because he would see that we actually are informed.”

WLOX News reached out to the Secretary of State to get his reaction to the backlash over his comments. Michael Watson admitted he probably could have found a better way to word his thoughts about the automatic registration idea.

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